Food That Rocks changed dramatically because of the global pandemic, but local residents still picked their favorite menu items from more than 30 restaurants in choosing the 2020 Best of Sandy Springs winners.

The COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing guidelines made Food That Rocks impossible as the usual food-tasting event. Organizers pivoted to take advantage of what was safe by encouraging diners to order curbside take-out or safely dine at participating restaurants. The result was “A Salute to Sandy Springs.”

From July 4 to 10, participating restaurants picked three menu items for the festival, including appetizers, entrees, drinks or desserts. Diners could order these items and late vote for favorites online while sharing them through social media.

More than 5,000 fan votes were recorded to determine what the Best of Sandy Springs were, the release reported.

Hearth Pizza Tavern earned the title of “Best of the Best” by gaining the most votes.

Best Appetizer: Tupelo Honey Café

Best Salad: Hearth Pizza Tavern

Best Chicken Wings: Taco Mac

Best Burger: Battle and Brew

Best Fried Chicken: Gus’s Fried Chicken

Best Bowl: Flower Child

Best Pasta: il Giallo Osteria & Bar

Best Pizza: Blue Moon Pizza

Best Lobster Roll: Hammock’s Trading Co.

Best Sandwich: Breadwinner Café

Best Seafood: Bishoku

Best Land: Chef Rob’s Caribbean Café

Best Drink: Hudson Grille

Best Cocktail: Casi Cielo

Best Dessert: Nothing Bundt Cakes

Best Takeout: The Local Expedition

Best Dine In: il Giallo Osteria & Bar

Food That Rocks sponsors included: Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital, your Atlanta Area BMW Centers, oXYgen Financial, Visit Sandy Springs, Bulleit Bourbon, Creature Comforts, Topo Chico, White Claw, Cayman Jack, Tip Top Proper Cocktails, Padre Azul Tequila, The Georgia Hemp Company, City Walk Shopping Center, Regency Centers and The Springs Cinema & Taphouse.

Taste of Atlanta presented Food That Rocks in partnership with the City of Sandy Springs and Visit Sandy Springs.

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.